Use activeCollab to manage your projects online for free

I have long wanted to install a project management system in my web server. I have gone through a couple of open source project management scripts, from eGroupWare, more.Groupware to dotProject and yet somehow I never found a PHP/MySQL script that was easy to install and use but at the same time fit my needs.

I had wanted to manage my tasks using groupware applications hosted on my server. I don’t do a lot of projects and the bulk of my time is spent on newsroom tasks. But often, I have to deal with different groups of people or even a separate department for some of my personal and work-related projects. I wanted to simplify and centralize all these tasks in an online task manager.

I gave up on installing a script in my own server and instead used Basecamp’s free account and even PBWiki for projects that required me to work with other people.

In July, however, I read a post in TechCrunch about a Basecamp “clone” that was released as an open source project. I immediately checked the site out and fount that activeCollab required a PHP 5 server. Since I was on a web host that only had PHP 4, I just bookmarked activeCollab and made a note to try it in a local server.

I’ve since transferred web hosts after I took over a project. My current host, A Small Orange, offers PHP 5 support but uses PHP 4 by default. After recovering from a bout with the flu, I attempted installing activeCollab and found it exceedingly easy to set up. In fact, I successfully installed the program and without a hitch on my first attempt.

activeCollab project managementactiveCollab is an open source, hosted alternative to the Basecamp project management service. Click to enlarge.

The installation isn’t as easy as that of WordPress’ famous five-minute install but it comes close to it. After reading the ASOwiki on how to use PHP 5 in its servers, I was able to install and run activeCollab.

If you’re on a web server that has PHP 5 but uses PHP 4 by default, just create two files a php5.fcgi and a .htaccess file with the following codes and placed these in the directory where you want to install activeCollab


exec /usr/local/php5-fcgi/bin/php


AddType application/x-httpd-php5 .php

Just open the URL of your activeCollab directory and it will give you a notification that you still haven’t installed the software. Create a MySQL database for activeCollab and just follow the on-screen instructions for installing the software.

The developer pledges an equally easy upgrading system albeit I still haven’t tried it since I’m using the latest version.
I’ve been using activeCollab for three days now and I find it so easy to use that in that short time, I’ve transferred all my task lists and added a lot more to my installation of the software.

ActiveCollab makes managing projects online and collaborating with other people or organizations easy. It allows you to use the software for a variety of projects without having to worry about breaking need-to-know issues because you can set permissions on a per project basis. When you add people to the system, you can specify what they can or cannot view, access or use.

What’s even remarkable about the software created by student Ilija Studen is that it isn’t even version 1.0 yet. Since this is an open source project, you can expect more and frequent improvements on the system. Already, there are a lot of great features lined up for coming versions.

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4 responses

  1. Hmm..nice one. I’ll give it a try. I just hope my webhost has PHP5.

  2. For dreamhost folks it’s just a one-click install. 🙂

  3. Markk,
    Bitaw I read it somewhere. It really is such a useful script it has become my main organizer.

  4. If you’d like a tool for managing your time and projects, you can use this web-application inspired by David Allen’s GTD:

    You can use it to manage and prioritize your goals, projects and tasks, set next actions and contexts, use checklists, schedules and a calendar.
    Syncs with Evernote and Google Calendar, and also comes with mobile version, and Android and iPhone apps.

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